By Alexandra Winner |Palm Desert contributor|
CSUSB Palm Desert campus hosted its first speech tournament Feb. 19 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., directed by Professor Rihan with the help of the Communication Club.
The event was open to any current student interested in demonstrating their public speaking skills.
The tournament consisted of four speech rounds with 65 contestants and 12 judges from the Palm Desert campus, and members of the community.
“I wanted the opportunity for students to see the value of public speaking and by involving the community was a way of validating the importance of having your voice heard,” said Basemah Rihan, professor of communication studies and director of the speech tournament.
Guest speakers included Palm Desert Deputy Mayor Jan Harnik and CSUSB Alumni Ashley Santana.
Harnik spoke about the importance of public speaking and having a voice.
She connected with the students by sharing some of her own experiences in public speaking.
“Students, staff, faculty, and members of the community expressed their gratitude in having been part of such a rewarding event,” said Rihan.
Donielle Gerrell placed first in the speech tournament, followed by Christina Gabbard and Estefania Nunez Astorga.
Along with respect and glory, the finalist received a trophy and a gift certificate from generous contributors.
“The speech tournament was a great experience” says second place winner Christina Gabbard, “I’m glad I got the courage to get in front of a crowd and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
Rihan noted that directing a tournament of this magnitude would not have been possible without being surrounded by talented, dedicated people and the Communication Club’s willingness to help.
The Communication Club showed their pride by wearing their T-shirts and expressing their unity. “I am so proud to be their club adviser,” said Rihan.
The speech tournament was well organized, with breakfast and lunch provided. Students were excited about the tournament and are already talking about the next tournament.